Posts Tagged ‘Favorite Products’
I love sunflower seed butter, aka sunbutter. These tiny seeds are the most concentrated source of our body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant: vitamin E. Vitamin E is a potent anti-inflammatory with great cardiovascular benefits, plus it’s wonderful for your skin! Interestingly enough, some of the symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are digestive problems and nutrient malabsoption. If you are like me, the last thing you need is another factor contributing to digestive woes or anemia.
Sunflower seed butter is a great nut-butter alternative for those with allergies or people looking to diversify the nutrient content of their diet. My son’s daycare is entirely “nut-free” so I use sunflower seed butter or tahini often as a sandwich-filler.
Unfortunately most of the store bought sunflower seed butter is expensive and contains added sugar. My favorite store bought variety is the Organic Sunbutter because it’s unsweetened and very creamy. However, I almost always end up whipping up my own version of the spread using a mix of roasted and raw sunflower seeds. Trader Joe’s carries one pound bags of roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds for less than $2.00! The salted sunflower seeds often have way too much salt to make a palatable butter. You can also roast your own if you like.
My simple recipe:
- 1 lb Roasted Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds (hulled of course)
- 1-2 TBS Virgin Coconut Oil (you could sub any oil or try without as well)
Whir all ingredients like crazy in your trusty food processor. When making nut or seed butter, I’ve found that you just have to be patient. Sometimes you need a little more oil to get the spread going. You could also use a Vitamix or Blendtech type high speed blender. I prefer to use the food processor because it’s easier to get nut/seed butters out after you make them.
The 2011 Sunscreen guide arrived in my inbox this morning thanks to one of my favorite organizations, the Environmental Working Group. If you are at all interested in keeping carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, etc. off your skin and out of your body, then EWG’s Skin Deep database will be your best friend. Years ago, when I first found Skin Deep I dropped my “natural” Aveeno sunscreen into the trash. Reading the list of potential side effects of these everyday products is gross. And EWG just gets better and better all the time. The number of products they’ve scored in their database has grown exponentially.
Unfortunately, of the 65,000+ products that they review, they don’t have my favorite facial sunscreen: Eminence’s Tropical Vanilla Sun Cream SPF 32. Though the price is a bit prohibitive, it is the best mineral sunscreen that I’ve used. The “cream” part means that it is more moisturizing and it leaves much less of a white mask than the others I’ve tried. It also provides a sort of matte finish that I think looks a bit like wearing powder. Oh, and it smells amazingly edible.
However, I feel like all mineral sunscreens are somewhat terrible for running. Even in the non-warm Oregon spring, they are suffocating and seem to slide off. Oh the irony: Sweating in the sunshine only increases the need for protection, but sunscreens (and mineral ones in particular) don’t work well in a slippery environment. Regular “sport” sunscreens do better, but the chemicals really bother my eczema. The compromise that I’ve come up with is the occasional use of Alba Botanical ‘s SPF 45 Sport. EWG scores it as a 5, which is higher than I normally would consider using, but it seems to be less irritating for my hands and better at staying in place (and actually providing sun protection!).
As for my son… I just love everything California Baby. Maybe being born in the OC makes me biased?
I really never used to wear sunscreen. I told everyone that I drank enough carrot juice to protect my skin! And then one day something clicked… I think it was turning 27 and realizing that I was nearing the down-slide to 30 and middle-adulthood. It was like a hazard light went off in my brain: I AM AGING. Obviously this seems overly dramatic, but I have a mother who has always been obsessed with skincare and it was just a matter of time until I joined in the compulsion.
For me it’s not just about finding the MOST effective products, but also finding the LEAST toxic ones. Many active ingredients (like glycolic & salicylic acids) have been found to be potentially hazardous, but they give great results. Just like any effective medication, there could be some side effects… it’s just a matter of how much you are willing to compromise.
One things that kill me are parabens. These are simply chemical preservatives added to products to make them last longer on the store shelves. They have been linked to cancer, neurotoxicity, mutations, and they are an endocrine disruptor (ie. they mess with your thyroid & hormones). So why are cosmetic companies still adding these harmful preservatives to everything from makeup to shampoo to lotions? We know they’re bad and many “natural” companies have abandoned them… there’s really no excuse.
And onto the hottly debated topic of Sunscreen. Studies have linked certain UV filters to the transsexualization of male fish, hormone disrupting activity and low birth weights in infant girls. One of these culprit chemicals is oxybenzone, which is common in many sunscreens. To lower the toxicity of sunscreens look for physical and not chemical blockers (ie. zinc oxide) in their non-nano form. This means that the particles are large enough to sit on the surface of the skin. The downside to this is the dreaded pasty-ghost-white film… but many products are getting better. A way around this is to use a tinted moisturizer with spf on your face.
The cosmetics database from the Environmental Working Group, a DC-based nonprofit, has 1,000′s of products rated on their safety levels. It’s a wonderful resource to lookup your favorite products and see their toxicity level. I used to buy Aveeno’s Positively Radiant facial sunscreen until I looked it up a couple of years ago. Today we are so bombarded with environmental pollutants and toxins from every angle (food, water, air, homes, etc.) that it is no wonder that an alarmingly high number of us have some kind of hormone, auto-immune, endrocrine (thyroid) or adrenal problem! One of the easiest things we can control is what we put onto my body.
Here’s the 2009 Guide to Sunscreens. Now, I’m off to enjoy the nice weather!
Also check out: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics
It’s Monday and I have a headache. OK, maybe it’s not really a headache… maybe it’s just that I have an endorphine hangover from the excitement and stress of last week’s events and I need a vacation.
Well, after going downstairs for a hit of Americano (bad!) and snack, I realized that I really take the Lärabar for granted.
Lärabars are always there when you need them. They are my food in a pinch. These bars are vegan and have no gluten, no soy, no gmo’s, and are only sweetened with fruit. Except for the newer Peanut Butter Cookie flavor, they are completely raw. (I don’t eat peanuts for other reasons though). All the flavors even have fewer than 6 ingredients. How many other foods can say that?
They also make a great bar to take on the road for a recovery food. Every ingredient is a food in a recognizable state to your body! That means less waist to build up and process and the more nutrients the body can absorb from the food. Reading the ingredients for most “energy bars” is a frightening and (hopefully) sobering moment. I wish people would stop to realize that if they can’t pronounce something, they probably shouldn’t be eating it.
My Favorites: Cherry Pie (cherries have been proven to have anti-inflammatory properties, so great after exercise!), Pistachio, Cinnamon Roll and Jocolat Chocolate Hazelnut.
One upside about the company being bought out by General Mills is that you can find them everywhere from cafeterias to gas stations. And as anyone with food allergies or restrictions can relate to: they mean not having to go hungry. So, thank you Lärabars. I owe you more than one.
I can’t contain my excitement for this new coconut milk! It totally took me by surprise. We were in Ashland for the Easter holiday weekend (UP is a Catholic school, so they get a four-day weekend) and I started jumping up and down when I saw this in the Co-op. By the way, the Ashland food co-op is like my home away from home. I practically live there when we’re visiting. Luckily Ian is a sport and let’s me make a daily (sometimes twice daily) trip. Why is it so exciting? They have mate on tap, three kinds of raw-granola in their bulk section, a juice bar!!!, a huge assortment of kombuchas, amazing fresh fruit and gorgeous young coconuts & dates… my mouth is watering… I’m going to stop now.
When we got back to Portland I was elated to find that my very own Whole Foods in the Pearl is carrying both the orginial and the unsweetened varieties. I picked up a carton of the unsweetened version last night and made some hot rice porridge for desert. It was so creamy I wanted to cry.
Heat in a pan on the stove:
2 Cups water (use less water for thicker consistency)
1/2 Eden Organic’s Brown Rice Flakes
(you could use hot rice cereal, but I like these flakes the best)
Pinch of celtic sea salt to taste
Local Raw Honey to sweeten – great for spring allergies!
(could sub agave, stevia, maple syrup)
Splash on the Coconut Milk!
Want to order vegan & gluten-free cookies for Christmas? Order by Sunday at noon and your package will ship Monday, 12/22/08 USPS priority. Enter Promo code FRIEND for a 30% discount on all orders through the end of the year. Happy holidays!
We’ve also added beautiful letterpress cards (from Egg Press!) to our inventory that you can purchase to go along with your order. Email us your personal message and we’ll include it in the card.
Awe, my addiction has a new outlet…. of course, I’m talking about chocolate. Ian thinks I’m crazy- it’s too bitter for him (he hates coffee and IPA and Kombucha too). But, somehow my tastes just keep getting more extreme. I’ve been munching on 99% cacao bars from Michel Cluizel! They are stocked by our local gourmet chocolate boutique named Cacao. I guess you could say I’m like a kid in a candy store there. Cacao presents chocolate like fine wines, olive oils, or coffees. Maybe you could call them the Chocolate Stumptown. They specialize in thick, unbelievably rich “drinking chocolates” that almost resemble hot pudding. My favorite is made with coconut milk and exotic spices that feeds my need for cayenne laced coco-ness.